Roadmap for fast-track future
RBU misses target, gets four stars
Faith costs firm Rs 10 crore
Your friendly, neighbourhood foodstop
Showcase Science prod for students
Stadium goon rearrested
The City Diary
Fair fuels festival fire
Strict steps on cracker ban

 
 
ROADMAP FOR FAST-TRACK FUTURE 
 
 
BY SUVRO ROY
 
Calcutta, Nov. 8 

16 new streets to ease traffic load

Picture this: It’s a race against time as you rush to the airport for an evening flight. If you.re caught in a characteristic traffic snarl at Ultadanga, the race is lost by a mile and more.

So, just go the .other. way. Turn right off the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass near Nicco Park, drive through Salt Lake, cross the bridge on Keshtopur canal and hit VIP Road for a smooth passage to the airport.

In two years. time, the authorities promise, this dream route will turn real. As will another road connecting the northern fringes of the city, like Baranagar or Dakshineswar, to VIP Road, bypassing the congestion of B.T. Road and Shyambazar.

These are the first two of the 16 new roads to be laid out as part of a Rs 16,000-crore masterplan for traffic and transportation in the Calcutta Metropolitan Area (CMA) in the next 25 years. The new roads will total a stretch of 82.1 km and will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 510 crore.

The road map will figure high on the agenda of the newly-formed Metropolitan Planning Committee, to meet on December 4. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, chairman of the committee, will head the table.

Apart from the two roads linking the northern and southern parts of the city across VIP Road, others on the anvil include: .

The Prince Anwar Shah Road connector to Eastern Expressway, linking S.C. Mullick Road to the Eastern Expressway.

Road connecting Belgachhia and Ultadanga. .

CPT Boat Canal Road from Remount Road to Deshapran Sashmal Road .

Extension of Prince Anwar Shah Roa

d to New Alipore Road from Deshapran Sashmal Road, westwards up to the southern approach of Derozio Bridge, connecting New Alipore to the EM Bypass .

Extension of Jadavpur Central Road to Deshapran Sashmal Road .

Grand Foreshore Road from Rabindra Setu to Vidyasagar Setu .

Central Howrah Arterial Road from Vidyasagar Setu approach and Howrah-Amta Road to Benares Road .

Road connecting Howrah Drainage Canal Road and National Highway 6 in east-west direction .

Extension of Howrah Drainage Canal Road to Andul Road in the south and Vivekananda Setu approach in the north

.North-south riverfront road from Rabindra Setu to Bally

.Riverfront arterial road in Calcutta .

D.C. Dey Road, from Moulali to E.M. Bypass

Work on the EM Bypass-Salt Lake-VIP Road stretch is expected to start by April 2002. A continuation of this road will run along the Bagjola Canal and connect with the proposed Belghoria Expressway.

These roads are part of our future plans to distribute vehicular traffic and ease congestion in and around the city. From now on, all planning will be done keeping in mind the increased population and vehicular congestion during the next two decades,. said urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya.

Encroachment will be a .real problem. in some cases, admit CMDA officials. .We have decided to take up the construction of the Salt Lake stretch first because it is free of encroachment and there are no land acquisition problems,. said an official.

The CMA area extends from Kalyani in the north to Baruipur in the south. The core area, as adjudged by the CMDA, is marked by Dunlop Bridge in the north, Garia in the south, Salt Lake in the east and National Highway 6 in the west.

.In this thickly-populated core area, we need to find ways for quick dispersal of vehicular traffic. The new roads are aimed at less of a detour, lesser journey time and lesser delay at busy intersections.Now, there are at least a million vehicles plying in the CMA and the number is expected to cross three million by 2025. So, we have to draw up plans to meet the challenge,. a CMDA official said.

   

 
 
RBU MISSES TARGET, GETS FOUR STARS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Nov. 8: 
The Rabindra Bharati University (RBU) campaign for a five-star grade from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has come a cropper.

In a faxed message from its Bangalore headquarters, the Council informed RBU vice-chancellor Subhankar Chakraborty on Thursday that the university could manage only four stars.

A team of NAAC officials had visited JU and RBU last month to study various aspects of the two institutions. Calcutta University (CU) has already bagged five stars and the Council has, reportedly, faxed a message to Jadavpur University (JU), confirming its fivestar status.

As the JU offices were closed on Thursday, no confirmation was available. .I hope to get the message when I go to office on Friday,. JU registrar Rajat Banerjee said.

According to Chakraborty, RBU had scored 70 to 74 per cent marks.An institution is given fivestar status if it scores 75 per cent or more. .We have missed the five star by one mark.We hope to make it up next time when we renew NAAC accreditation after five years,. said the vice-chancellor.

Sources in the RBU, however, said the institution had failed to make the mark because of .infrastructural lapses. and .poor academic performance of some departments..

The NAAC team had, for example, expressed dissatisfaction over the university’s failure to fill up teaching posts in vocal and instrumental music courses and urged the authorities to take immediate steps to correct the situation.

NAAC billing has been made mandatory for all institutions availing of UGC funds.The course and curriculum, infrastructure, teaching and learning systems, research facilities, placement rate of students, work culture of employees and quality of overall management are some aspects the Council assesses.

   

 
 
FAITH COSTS FIRM RS 10 CRORE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Nov. 8: 
It started with a bang but by the time Saurabh Bora had finished playing the market, he had left a major stock-broking firm whimpering. And out of pocket to the tune of Rs 10 crore.

What has developed into one of the bigger fraud cases in the city had started stealthily. Bora emerged on the city’s business scene in 1999. A savvy businessman from Mumbai, who knew all the rules of the game and some.

He knew which stocks to place one’s money on,which companies would turn the fortunes of people and how to climb up the financial ladder.

As his name began doing the rounds of the city’s financial circuit, he approached a major stockbroking firm on R.N. Mukherjee Road and asked them to deal in shares on his behalf.This relationship flourished for over a year, as he pulled off several transactions, more often than not landing the firm a handsome profit.

When some of Bora’s deals went wrong, the stock-broking firm didn.t really mind. It went on pumping in money on his behalf as he played the market. The next deal would be a winner, he would promise, and the investment would seem worth the wait.

A nagging suspicion about Bora’s intentions began building up. But it was only a couple of weeks ago that the firm realised the enormity of the dupe trap.

Bora, they found, had totted up losses to the tune of Rs 10 crore. He had, of course, not paid back a paisa for all that the firm had invested in his gain game.

Before the firm could cry foul, Bora realised that the tide had turned. By the time the stockbroking office filed a complaint against Bora at Hare Street police station, he was nowhere to be found. According to the complaint lodged by the stock-broking firm, while Bora had conveniently pocketed the money he had made from the investments that paid dividends, he had not paid up for the losses.

Ten days ago, the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court ordered his arrest on charges of cheating.

Last heard, Bora was somewhere in western India, probably in Ahmednagar. This is precisely where a team from the city police’s detective department set out for on Wednesday, hoping to ‘smoke him out..

According to the additional commissioner of police, detective department, Tapan Chatterjee, the police here have also got in touch with their counterparts in Mumbai and filled them up on details about Bora..We have already received encouraging feedback from them and established leads pointing to Bora’s location,. Chatterjee added. Time is ticking away for the police, as the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court has asked them to produce Bora by November 21.

Cancer helpline: The Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, on Shyamaprasad Mookherjee Road, has designed www.cancerhep4u. com, India’s first cancer helpline on the Net.

The concept aims to develop an oncology network that will manage cancer care, from diagnosis to treatment, and has been developed by a team of doctors, researchers and IT professionals.

   

 
 
YOUR FRIENDLY, NEIGHBOURHOOD FOODSTOP 
 
 
BY SUBHRO SAHA
 
Calcutta, Nov. 8: 
Pick up your dawn-to-dawn food needs in cosy, air-conditioned comfort while your husband grabs a bite at the snack bar or chooses a bouquet from the florist and the kids have a ball in the playzone outside. Nice .n Fresh, the homely neighbourhood foodstop with an .international ambience., is all set to unveil itself this Diwali week.

Convinced that .food is the future and customer’s delight, not mere satisfaction, is the key., a young couple, Harsh Vardhan and Nidhi Rungta, had conceptualised .a focussed, organised retail outlet with a difference., a few months back. Their first Nice .n Fresh store, on Ballygunge Circular Road, will open its doors to the public immediately after the Festival of Lights.

The outlet will stock everything, from groceries to food and vegetables, the entire range of staples, savouries and chocolates, healthfood and provisions, toiletries and babyfood, aiming at 8,000 stock-keeping units on the racks and .at least two to three brand options. in each segment. .

After attending a few seminars, including Retail 2001, early this year,we realised that Calcutta needs dedicated food and provisions stores where one can pick up things of everyday need off the racks in an atmosphere which is not intimidating,. says Harsh, an electrical engineering and computer science graduate from the US,who dabbled in real estate and steel-casting before taking a turn towards foodbiz.

Nidhi, a B.Com graduate,who has helped her husband in the .research and planning., adds:.We felt this is a niche area which has a lot of potential.What Calcuttans need is a place where a family can feel absolutely comfortable while picking up all that they need for the fridge and more. The stress will be on quality food products, backed up by a relaxed ambience and personalised service..

Once the Ballygunge Circular Road store takes off, the Rungtas will look at replicating the next-door supermarket model at their own properties on Lansdowne Road and in Moulali. This could pave the way for .a chain of Nice .n Fresh outlets..

Harsh and Nidhi went to Chennai to study the FoodWorld model. Their Nice .n Fresh dream .is FoodWorld on a much smaller scale.. .Our visit to the gigantic RPG Group retail chain taught us to be absolutely focussed.We have tried to give the store an international look through wraparound muted glowsigns, extensive signages, granamite flooring and special energy-saving illumination, without diverting attention from the product itself,. explains Harsh. .The bottomline is that the customer must feel relaxed in a not-too-jazzy or none-too-large setting, with no pushy salespeople to hassle them,. says Nidhi.

The husband-wife team,working almost round-the-clock for days together to meet the Diwali deadline, has drawn up a list of 8,000-odd .potential customers. in the neighbourhood.. But once the concept clicks, it could well trigger a mini foodshopping retail revolution.

   

 
 
SHOWCASE SCIENCE PROD FOR STUDENTS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Nov. 8: 
For some, it’s still biology over medicine; maths over IT. To capitalise on this inherent interest in the pure sciences, secondaryschool toppers from Bengal and Sikkim attended the launch of this year’s Programme on Youth for Leadership in Science.

The .catch-them-young. programme, under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is an attempt to lure young students away from management and IT, to take up .pure science.instead.Three agencies in Calcutta . Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute and Central Mechanical and Engineering Research Institute . offer early exposure to top-of-the-line research facilities and opportunities to network with luminaries of the scientific community.

The two-day orientation programme, inaugurated on Wednesday by Governor Viren J. Shah, introduced Class XI students and their guardians to .the opportunities of science., through tours of laboratories and talks by eminent scientists.

Over 50 students from Calcutta and the districts, along with toppers from Sikkim, toured some of the CSIR labs.

I want to go to medical college after school, but my first love is biology, so I hope to go into research after that,. explains Abhijan Maiti from Burdwan CMS School, after listening to the guide about how infra-red rays and special glass are used for night-vision goggles.

There was much in store for parents as well. .I didn.t know there were so many professional options for pure science students,. smiles Shipra Guha Niyogi, whose son Rajarshi made the honours list in Madhyamik 2001.

The year-long programme encourages students pursuing science at the Plus-II level to use CSIR lab facilities for projects. Scheme Two of the programme promises ‘support at the under-graduate level., with those scoring over 90 per cent in the natural sciences and opting for science in college offered 14 weeks of project work during vacations.

The three-year-old programme has just begun to show results. .In the first batch, in 1999, over 70 students joined. Some have enrolled in natural science courses in college and keep in regular touch,. explains Dr Ranjit Das, head scientist with the computer section at the Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute.

   

 
 
STADIUM GOON REARRESTED 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Nov. 8: 
Tarun Sarkar, alias Toton, who was among the criminals picked up from the Salt Lake stadium earlier this year, was arrested at Dum Dum on Thursday on charges of peddling drugs.

Police said Toton had been released on bail on October 16 and unleashed a reign of terror in the Dum Dum area since.

On Thursday, he was flushed out from his hideout, said officerin-charge of Dum Dum police station, Sudip Roy. A few improvised revolvers and some rounds of ammunition were recovered from him.

In the past few years, Toton had formed his own gang and was involved in drug-peddling. .He had made a lot of money and the police were on his lookout for a long time,. Roy said.

After being freed on bail,Toton tried to take control of the local underworld. He was arrested for murdering Narayan Das, a local promoter, on September 26. Toton would keep in touch with his gang members from prison.

A manhunt has been launched to arrest his accomplices.

   

 
 
THE CITY DIARY 
 
 
 
 

Trinamul activists on hungerstrike

Trinamul Congress activists, protesting the assault on a few of their party members by CPMsponsored goons,went on a hungerstrike in front of Chakdah police station, in the northern suburbs of the city. Police said that Kshudiram Mondol and Ajay Neel were beaten up by miscreants late on Wednesday evening. .

Traders held with crackers

Two persons were arrested from a local bazaar in Howrah and banned crackers worth over a lakh of rupees were seized from them. Acting on a tip-off, a police team raided Kalibabu’s Bazaar on Thursday and seized the crackers. The two traders were arrested on the spot.

Fall from roof

One person was critically injured after he fell off the terrace of his house in Howrah on Thursday. Police said Shamsher Ali, 60,was fixing the water tank on the terrace,when he slipped and fell in a heap.He was rushed to a local hospital.

Bengal winners

Gopal Prasad Poddar and M. Jash, of Calcutta, and Mohammad Salim Ansari of Birbhum are the three people from Bengal who figure on the first list of 145 winners of the LG Electronics India 5000crore achievement bash. Launched on October 15, the campaign will run till November 14, with the company giving away lucky prizes and assured gifts worth Rs 12 crore.

Jadavpur swoop

Police arrested 250 criminals from Regent Park and Jadavpur on Wednesday night. Superintendent of police D.K. Ganguly said a large quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from several places. Fourteen people were arrested on charges of forcible collection of subscriptions and sale of illicit country liquor.

Rickshaw drive

Police on Thursday organised a special drive against auto-rickshaws and cyclerickshaws on Diamond Harbour Road to ensure smooth flow of traffic.A team raided the place and cleared the road of vehicles that were illegally parked. Police said drivers of 10 vehicles were prosecuted.

Journalist dies

. Veteran journalist Tooshar Pandit died in Calcutta on Tuesday of brain haemorrhage.He was 61 and is survived by his widow. The last rites were performed at Kashi Mitra Ghat on Wednesday morning.

Son of a lawyer, Pandit’s career as a journalist began in Darjeeling in the early 60s, when he joined Anandabazar Patrika and Hindustan Standard as district correspondent. Later, he started working at the ABP headquarters in Calcutta.He covered the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 and later served as the newspaper’s Dhaka correspondent. Subsequently, he joined Sunday to become its chief reporter.He rose to the post of the magazine’s associate editor in 1988.

   

 
 
FAIR FUELS FESTIVAL FIRE 
 
 
BY TAPAS GHOSH
 
Calcutta, Nov. 8: 
The annual open market for fireworks, better known as Bazi Bazaar, was kicked off on the Maidan amid tight restrictions on the fireworks trade by the state Pollution Control Board (PCB).

Expressing resentment at the curbs, trade officials said Bazi Bazaar would have several highlights, one of which would be the wide range of fireworks, especially rockets and tubris. A total of 76 stalls have been set up on the stretch opposite St Paul’s Cathedral and Academy of Fine Arts. .

The restrictions should not deter buyers who are interested in variety,. a trader said. This year, most of the stalls are of 300-sq-ft dimension, with a good distance separating them. The decision to instal an open market was taken to avoid disasters caused by fire.

On Thursday, business was not brisk, but the stall-owners expressed the hope that sales will pick up by mid week.

The PCB and the police have imposed more restrictions on the use of fireworks and fire crackers during the festival days.

After the implementation of Noise Act in 1996, a few crackers, like whistles, rocket crackers and siren crackers, were not allowed to be sold till last year. But this year, the PCB has tested all these crackers and allowed their sale.

.This time, we expect rockets of different types to have ready customers, thanks to the variety,. said Md Iqbal, a stall-owner.

He told Metro that the rockets are priced between Rs 35 and Rs 250. Golden Exotica, Musical Roll, Silic Spiro and Gold Khazana are favourite firecrackers of this year’s market, said another stallowner.

   

 
 
STRICT STEPS ON CRACKER BAN 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Nov. 8: 
Police chief Sujoy Chakraborty has directed his men to clamp down on people violating the cracker ban and clubs that extort money by way of subscription.

At a meeting with inspectors and divisional deputy commissioners, Chakraborty directed them to check on anonymous complaints too..Don.t insist on a written complaint for forcible collection. If somebody passes on information on the telephone, have it verified,.. he ordered.

He has urged the public to call up the police control room if they are dissatisfied with the local thana response. .People can call up 214-3024 and 214-3230 to file their complaints against bursting of crackers and forcible collection of subscriptions,.. said deputy commissioner of police, headquarters, Banibrata Basu.

The police will insist on a 6-pm to 10-pm deadline on crackers. .We have not received any Supreme Court order revoking the deadline,.. he added. Basu admitted that complaints had started coming in from central and south Calcutta. .We arrested a dozen people for forcible collection. The clubs have been banned from organising the Pujas,.. he said.

   
 

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